Nelson owed his entry into the Navy to the influence of his uncle Maurice Suckling, his mother's brother, captain of the 64-gun ship 'Raisonnable' when he joined in 1771. Suckling aimed to help his widowed brother-in-law, the Rev. Edmund Nelson, by taking one of his sons to sea after the death of their mother. Horatio was keen to go but Suckling wrote to Edmund: 'What has poor Horace done, who is so weak, that he, above all the rest should be sent to rough it out at sea? But let him come and the first time we go into action a cannon ball may knock off his head and provide for him at once.'